text and image by Rosa Cisneros.
In 2018 the Drom Kotar Mestipen (DKM) organised a Roma Women’s Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Rosa Cisneros (C-DaRE) at the time was the Catalan Government’s Roma women’s consultant and leading on the political entities strand of linking policy and grassroots Roma women. Through that partnership the DKM, the Catalan Government and Cisneros were responsible for bringing together 375 Roma women. From 17 different countries together to talk about education, culture, feminism and identity. They had local grassroots women attend the event and a dream of theirs was to organise a local events throughout Europe and the UK.
Fast forward to 2021 and the EU-funded RTransform project led by DKM where COVUNI is a partner and Cisneros is responsible for the UK strand of the work, is exactly about transferring the Congress method and LabDay idea to 5 different countries. The UK is part of this network and the Sheffield-based organisation Care for Young People’s Future is a key player.
Saturday Nov 27th, 2021 at Sheffield Hallam University we held the first UK Roma Women’s Gathering. The event welcomed many role models from the community and also local grassroots Roma women and girls to talk about the importance of education, arts and culture, and dance. The Gathering had a local group of young dancers performing and discussing cultural heritage.
The WEAVE project was presented at the event under the best practice examples that are underpinned by research. Cisneros and Yassmin Stanislava discussed WEAVE and a Roma Recycle children’s book project to highlight the importance of cultural heritage in discussing and navigating identity politics.